British chef Jamie Oliver has faced resistance before in his crusade to improve school lunches worldwide, but his experience taping the second season of "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution" in Los Angeles has proven to be quite the challenge.
Oliver and his film crew ended up being banned from filming at all Los Angeles Unified School District schools, and the conflict has become a focal point of the new season, which premieres tonight on ABC.
"I never really expected to be banned from every single school in the district," Oliver said, "My goal is certainly not to fight with the school district."
The district has been quoted as saying they've suspended filming of all reality TV shows in district schools, citing problems with other shows and issues it had with the first season of "Revolution," which was filmed in Huntington, West Virginia. Oliver thinks the district doesn't want to open itself up to criticism.
"It's about lack of transparency and not wanting to have someone poking through their laundry drawer," Oliver noted. "If the district were a private company funded by their own money, I wouldn't mind being kept out. But this is a public organization that affects so many and is controlled by so few. It just doesn't feel right to me."
Oliver says he hopes to meet with the district's new superintendent in the coming days to discuss the possibility of filming inside city schools.
Despite the hurdles, Oliver found Los Angeles to be a fascinating subject for the new "Revolution" season.
"Los Angeles is home to some of the healthiest people in the world, and you can find some of the most wonderful food there," Oliver noted, "but inside the city, there is incredible poverty. People without cars have to travel three hours round-trip to get fresh food."
Oliver hopes to build on the success of "Revolution's" first season, noting that the principles he introduced in Huntington, West Virginia, continue to thrive.
"Everything we set up in Huntington is still running and succeeding, and the residents are doing even more, from farmers' markets to local restaurants and fitness clubs."
Oliver says "Food Revolution" is more than just a TV show, but an opportunity to do something to make things better.
"We don't want people just to watch the show then turn over and get on with life. I hope that people will get peeved off with some of the stuff they see in a really healthy way."
"The 'Food Revolution' isn't that complicated," Oliver went on. "It's all about trying to get Americans to expect more and get them a bit more streetwise about food in general. Even something simple like cooking once a week with your family can spur change for the better."
"Food Revolution's" new season begins tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.